Day 2 of the Business and Biodiversity forum of COP15 in Montreal – and a long day of sessions and panel discussions about the role of government got me thinking. The #MakeitMandatory campaign focuses on Target 15 of the Global Biodiversity Framework and creating a driver from government level to mandate the assessment and disclosure of nature-related risks for all businesses.
How will businesses feel about this? Will these regulations be met with contempt?
It is my view, having run my own business for 15 years, that businesses won’t mobilise unless they have to. We need to discover the key that will unlock that motivation. I’m not sure that top-down government-mandated requirements alone will be enough.
The Irish government declared a biodiversity emergency in 2019. But it doesn’t really feel like we’re in a state of emergency. Most people are simply unaware of the deteriorating situation, or if they are, they feel powerless to address it.
The Irish government needs to treat this issue like the emergency that it is and invest money in enhancing awareness in the general public, much like they did for COVID-19 or how they create awareness about an upcoming referendum or census.
We need a broad, mainstreamed advertising and awareness campaign, run on TV, radio, social media and print media to inform the public and mobilise their inherent power to catalyse change.
The people of Ireland need to understand their role in this crisis. We consume irresponsibly, but we don’t realise it. An awareness campaign would help create a bottom-up driver from consumer level. A demand for change. A demand for more responsible business, more nature-friendly products.
How would businesses feel about this? Will these consumer demands be met with respect? With urgency? Knowing that if products and services don’t align with evolving consumer sentiment, can the business expect to survive? Or go extinct?
The top-down regulation from government and the bottom-up change in consumer demand will create a space in between. And this is where the magic happens.
Lucy Gaffney – Business for Biodiversity Ireland